Diamond Jubilee: Down with all monarchs– and down with all bourgeois republics!

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Diamond Jubilee: Down with all monarchs– and down with all bourgeois republics!
Printer-friendly version

The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Diamond Jubilee: Down with all monarchs– and down with all bourgeois republics!. The discussion was initiated by Fred.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

Amos writes: "The pomp and

Amos writes: "The pomp and ceremony that is inseparable from the monarchy is thus an expression of our own alienation, of our loss of control of society and the way it functions.  We ‘invest’ in kings and queens and similar celebrities because of the enforced poverty of our own lives.".

The bleakness and misery of post-war Britain bordered on the unbearable. To this particular youth the Queen's accession followed a year later by the coronation was the first indication I ever received that there could be any colour, any splendor, anything of novelty, and, specially, any music of intelligent appeal, in an exceedingly grey and tightly controlled world. That these were associated with the monarchy, in which institution I along with many others "invested" heavily - there was nothing else, even rationing continued till 1954, and bomb sites, and inner city dereliction ( no money) was always there- is not so surprising, as it was essential to find something to obsess over as a way of escape from everyday "life". We didn't see it like this at the time, of course, just felt continually ill-at-ease, that something wasn't right, and that we were likely to be rendered unhappy for no apparent reason. Is this "alienation"?

So the monarchy served a great purpose for the bourgeoisie in presenting us, the impoverished, downtrodden survivors of the war - during a savage austerity only now beginning to be seen again - with an escape. A completely phony escape of course, which in it's own way only exaggerated the difference between those who had money and the leisure to enjoy it, and those
who had....well, work! And lots of it. This is reconstruction time, don't forget. There was full employment:and a fully working
National Health Service: and, I think, free education at the tertiary level, and National Service... What paradise ! What bliss to be alive. Only of course it wasn't really, and it's all rapidly disappearing now as reality bites, capitalism totters, and even the queen ages.

The only good thing that came out of the coronation for me was the discovery of music via Zadok the Priest and Parry's "I was Glad". So I can barely wait for Amos's genuine Jubilee, when the trumpet will really sound, and the nations will be dissolved. Or something along those lines.


Thanks Fred for this, because it is a very revealing example of why the British monarchy continues to have the success it does as a propaganda vehicle.

Republics better than monarchies

Whilst it was encouraging to read 'Diamond Jubilee: Down with all monarchs- and down with all bourgeois republics!', it seems to me that some of the way Amos' argument was pitched are remote from today's proletarian concerns. The historical saga which he covered, even including references to Old Testament prophets, might be all very interesting to some readers, but why should workers today bother to oppose monarchism, without automatically invoking long-term marxist perspectives ?

It is sometimes thought that a republic would cost as much, or even more, that a monarchy in the UK, but if we ask just how many palaces, acres of land and extensive numbers of supporting staff a republic would need, as compared with all those now provided for royalty, this point alone, when emphasised in propaganda, will probably begin to sink in.  Then, for workers already persuaded against imperialism, the fact that royalty acts as a rallying point for militarism could also be emphasised.

If I may  mention a personal perspective, my dad always stood to attention whenever the national anthem was played on the radio, but in the early fifties I was influenced by Fred Barton, an active campaigner from soap boxes in Manchester against imperialism in Kenya and elsewhere. Fred organised the Young War Resisters in the days of conscription.  He was a Quaker  and worked for the Tobacco Workers union in Liverpool. Fred deliberately remained seated whenever the national anthem was played. Youngsters can come to republicanism in various ways, maybe long before, if ever, they take on board all that the communist left has to say.

Speaking of music, I am

Speaking of music, I am surprised the article didn't reference the famous Sex Pistols' attack on "our figurehead." Or should that be in the art and culture thread?

I am not sure what Hawkeye's concern is. The article clearly denounces monarchies and republics. I think the point is that the UK is really a bourgeois republic with all the attendant bureaucracy, but it stilll has the trappings of monarchy as some kind of ideological/nationalist trope. This of course allows for the creation of a false debate on the virtues of abolishing all of the expensive pomp and circonstance--something even more salient in the Commonwealth realms, where tax dollas go to support a monarch that doesn't even live in the country!